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Re: Update: The Economy

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First Quarter - About average for all of 2008.
Second Quarter - Lousy.
Third Quarter - Improved to being "Fair to Poor".
Fourth Quarter - Best of the year.  Above 2008 average.
Outlook - Good and getting better.  At least one engineering company I am familiar with is increasing staff.  My best client is a large electrical firm that sells, services and installs cranes for industrial applications; they are so busy they don't know whether they are coming or going.
H. Daryl Richardson
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, January 19, 2010 11:02 AM
Subject: Update: The Economy

Happy New Year, Y'all:
On June 24, 2009, I posted a short message stating that the economy was still going strong in Texas, where design firm backlogs appeared to be solid and growing.
Well, that was then.  The recession eventually found its way to Texas.  During the second half of 2009, it hit hard.  Many design firms were forced to reduce staff anywhere from 10% to 50% by the end of the year.  The higher cuts have been in architecture firms and the structural and MEP firms that serve them.  Private-sector building projects have all but disappeared, and public-sector building projects are few and far between.  The lower cuts have been made in civil and structural firms that focus on infrastructure.  This market is also down, with the notable exception of large PPP (CDA) infrastructure jobs funded through nontraditional sources.  The ARRA stimulus money is apparently going somewhere other than Texas.  So far, the forecast for 2010 is no better than 2009.
This leads to my query.  How is the market for structural and civil engineering services where you are?  For a common point of reference, how do things compare to mid-2008?  Down 10%, 30%, 50%, or worse?  What are the prospects for an upturn this year?  Has ARRA or other government funding made any impact?  I am asking without any agenda, so please refrain from political responses.
Stan R. Caldwell, P.E., SECB
Richardson, Texas